Structured Data and SEO

Google’s Webmaster Tools contains all sorts of useful information. One of these bits of useful information is the link under Search Appearance called Structured Data. As we all know, content is king, and most of us try to have great content on our websites. However, it is possible to have a web page with great content but structured in such a way that the search engines can not figure out the main point of the page.


A successful website engages and retains visitors.  The content is meaningful, the tools are useful.  People stick around and learn about your business.   How do you make that happen?  It doesn’t happen overnight.  A website is a living, growing entity.   Creating a successful website requires using tools that give you information about what your visitors do when they are on your site.  And when you see what they like, you can do more of that – and your website will attract and retain more visitors!

We are completely sold on the concept of Responsive Design. What this means to us is that your website will be easily navigated and viewed on every device. You don’t need to create a mobile website. You don’t really need to create a mobile app unless you need to access some of the functionality that the app will provide. If your website goals are to provide information and web-based tools like contact forms, maps, cost calculators, utilizing a responsive design is your best bet for creating a website that won’t need updating for a long period of time.

1. It’s economical. -> A WordPress website is a step above an “instant website” and since the software is free all you need to do is pay for hosting (which can cost around $5/mo).
2. Ease of Use. -> Easy to Change Content, Easy to Add Content and Easy to Update, what more can you ask for?
3. High Quality Designs. -> There are so many nice Themes for WordPress. They can be simple or complicated. Just search the internet for “Wordpress Themes” and you will find many you like. We recommend “Responsive Themes”, these designs look good on a phone, tablet or big monitor. Bonus – you don’t need to worry about creating a separate mobile site or app!
4. No Limits. -> There are no page limits, really no limits at all. There are thousands of high-quality plugins that increase your website’s functionality. You can start off as a small site and easily expand to an e-commerce site. Even large companies use WordPress because it can grow as your company grows.
5. Head Start on SEO. -> Search Engines like the way WordPress is set up and if you create fresh content and utilize some seo plugins, your site should do well in search engines.

What do you think keeps people interested in a website.   Do you think it is all the cool graphics?  Well the graphics make get them to stay for a few seconds but if you do not have meaningful content then people are going to leave your site right after they arrive.

The first question we ask any new client is what is the goal for your website?   Do you want to sell more online items?   Do you want more people to contact you?  Do you want to sell more items at your store?   Do you want your website to provide answers to common questions so that you spend less time on the phone?   A business website can do many things but unless you are clear about what you want most of these things will not get done correctly or as well as they should.

Both Joomla and WordPress are great systems for managing your website.

I’ve been using Joomla for years and have been using Wordress for the last year, my last 4 sites have been built with Joomla 1.6 and WordPress 3.0. This post and subsequent posts on this topic will compare the pros and cons of each system based on my own observations and observing others as they try and keep their website updated. How their sites fare in search engine placement will also be addressed.

I’d like to start off with my initial observations:

  • First, the administrative interface for wordpress is more intuitive and fun to use. It just makes sense and flows better. The learning curve for adding posts/pages and menus is definitely shorter.  But that said, I only recommend my clients use the front-end editing for joomla since the back-end adminstrator is still non-intuitive. Learning to edit and add articles is relatively easy with this method. Generally, I set up the website so that most things can be done through the front-end. If a client needs to do something that can only be done in the back-end I offer detailed explanations or just do it for them. In the long run this is easier and works out well.
  • Editing and creating templates is about the same, once you have a little experience. But joomla has the edge for giving different sections of the site a different look and feel since it enables you to assign templates to sections. As a side note, I am really enjoying the structure of Joomla 1.6 – the core is much improved and fun to work with.  Editing wordpress templates is not that difficult there are just more variables and bits and pieces involved.
  • Joomla 1.6 has access control in the core. These areas will contain information specific to each client. You can do the same thing with
    Wordpress it just isn’t as nice.
  • WordPress 3.0 has the ability to have a network of blogs per website. This is not exactly a social networking type of site, it is just the ability to have multiple little websites. A system like this encourages a shared responsibility for updating the website. Each individual blog/webiste will have its own site admin and possibly unique design. This type of site would be a great fit for schools, community organizations or businesses that have small groups or individuals responsible for a part of the website. For example a school could have a blog/site for the administrators, the teachers, and each extra-curricular activities group. All the individual websites would be under the umbrella of the main site but would be easily controlled by the responsible party.
  • And in regards to SEO – out of the box joomla 1.6 is excellent. However WordPress has some excellent plugins that are easy to implement and use.

To sum up, I still think it is very important to evaluate the needs and future plans of each organization before recommending either joomla or wordpress. I’d also like to add that each system has a strong developer community with thousands of third-party add-ons. And each system needs a few add-ons to work well. My next post in this series will begin to evaluate the add-ons that are essential for a professional website.